Work from home essentials: Tech worth buying for remote working – Techradar - Freelance Rack

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Work from home essentials: Tech worth buying for remote working – Techradar

Millions of people across the world were forced to suddenly adopt a remote working lifestyle this year. While it is a step in everyone’s interest, given the nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, the transition has been far from easy. In fact, employees trying to work from home for the first time took weeks to get accustomed to this arrangement. Thankfully, technology is here to help us with the shift.

The TechRadar India team has been working remotely since years and prefers that to a conventional workspace. For this compilation, we asked everyone about their favourite and indispensable tech products that have made life easier over the course of time. 

We have consciously avoided the obvious ones such as smartphones and laptops and will focus on the smaller things that have made work easier.

Most of what we present here are our daily use items. For categories with too many products and no clear winner, we will have respective dedicated buying guides linked over there so you can make a more informed decision.

Owing to the nature of this piece, the products will also span numerous categories and include many miscellaneous items that usually go under the radar. There will be gadgets for various kinds of users, ranging from writers to creators and everything in between. This compilation will also be regularly updated as we discover more gems.  The prices of some of these products change frequently, so check out the appended links for the current pricing and availability. 

The workstation

Let’s start with our workstation. Professionals today spend close to half a day at their desks, primarily on their laptop or computer. One of the ways to get more productive while also saving your eyes is to invest in a monitor, in case you aren’t using a desktop. With a canvas area that is nearly 4x a laptop, your screen elements can be enlarged to go easy on your eyes. You can get a decent monitor at around Rs 10,000, with features such as a higher refresh rate, resolution or an ultra-wide aspect ratio adding to the cost. Colour accuracy is also unlikely to be great at this price point, but for general work, these should suffice.  

Our pick: Samsung 24-inch LED monitor

At a price of around Rs 10,000, the Samsung LS24R356FHWXXL offers an expansive 24-inch Full HD panel with a refresh rate of 75Hz. Its design is also rather modern.

View Deal

Be sure to check if the ports on the monitor match with those on your laptop. In case you plan on continuing with your laptop, investing in a stand/raiser will go a long way in helping your posture and not straining your hands. Since these are not too technical, it’s okay to even consider the affordable or generic options that suit your taste. If you prefer working while sitting down or on the bed, a small portable study table will be better suited.

Check out laptop raisers

Check out study tables

Comfortable seating

Moving to a more comfortable and ergonomic chair is also a big step in the right direction. Gaming chairs are usually preferred over the typical chairs as they offer better support for the back. They can get expensive and size preferences are different for everyone, so we recommend trying these out locally if possible, before making the purchase. Green Soul is the industry standard for gaming chairs if budget is not an issue.

The right sounds

With the display situation taken care of, audio is usually the next focus area. Most laptops come with subpar speakers and their output is too low to be used enjoyably in noisy surroundings. Adding a good pair of earphones to your setup takes care of both of those issues. This is especially true if you prefer to have music playing while working.

Before deciding, there are a few things that need to be considered to help narrow down your preference. Going wireless gives you a lot more freedom of movement, while a tethered connection helps reduce latency (for gaming). Similarly, headphones usually offer better noise isolation whereas earbuds are more compact and comfortable. Once decided, you can check out our exhaustive buying guides to know about the latest offerings in each segment.

Best wireless headphones available in India

Best true wireless earbuds in India

Best Bluetooth speakers for 2020

Seamless data transfer

If your work includes a lot of media such as photo or video editing, transferring files or working between devices, reliable storage options will be indispensable for you. An external hard drive with USB 3.0 connectivity is a must-have. It can also be used as a place to dump your older folders to keep your computer’s storage empty. Western Digital and Seagate have a ton of offerings in this space for all uses, capacities, designs and budgets.

If your phone is also a part of your workflow, then adding a pendrive that can work across phones and computers might be a good investment. Newer ones include 2-in-1 USB Type-C and Type-A connectivity, USB 3.1 transfer speeds and compact sizes. We use them all the time to transfer images and video clips from our phones to our editing machines.

The power

On the topic of phones, there’s probably nothing as irritating as finding your phone on low battery and not having a charging point nearby. Proprietary chargers are fast but bulky. Generic multi-point chargers aren’t the safest as they usually come with unwanted static and heating. Getting a spike guard or a good multi-port charger is an easy solution to keep your devices topped up, especially when you are juggling between multiple of them.

Our pick: AMX XP 60 4-port charger

AMX is one of the few Indian manufacturers to offer multi-port chargers that takes quality and safety into consideration. The XP 60 is its flagship product with a 45W USB Type-C connector (for laptops) and three fast-charging USB Type-A ports.View Deal

What about the ambience?

Moving to a slightly more lifestyle range of products, having a great ambience also improves your experience, be it for work or entertainment. One of the easiest ways to spice things up is with smart lighting. With an onslaught of IoT companies, it’s easy to find smart bulbs at really affordable prices. Good ones come with an app to select the lighting effect and colour, ability to control via a smart assistant, and ample brightness.

Be sure to check for the correct socket for your setup as older bulbs had a different holder.

Our pick: Xiaomi Mi LED Smart Bulb

Xiaomi is a household name for smart home products, and its Mi Smart Bulb brings a barrage of features at a good price. It can also be controlled via Amazon Alexa.View Deal

All work and no play… 

If you want to continue the entertainment bit by unwinding with TV or music, having a smart TV is a great addition. But buying a new TV can be an expensive feat, especially if it is just for the software features. Thankfully, there are cheap smart TV conversion kits which pump in new life to old TVs. Good options include support for all the OTT platforms and can run them at 4K resolution. Amazon’s Fire Stick range is pretty popular. 

Our pick: Xiaomi Mi Box 4K

Xiaomi’s new smart TV conversion kit is very well-priced for all the features it offers such as support for all the apps, the ability to run 4K HDR content and access to the Google Play Store. 

Check out our review View Deal

Cleanliness is next to…

Cleanliness and hygiene have been major learnings of this lockdown. But cleaning usually consumes a lot of time, which is undesirable when we have to take care of so many other things. Smart automated cleaners are still a rarity in India, and are thus pretty expensive. But if you can shell out cash and want a futuristic cleaning companion, there are a couple of options available. Even Xiaomi has a smart robot vacuum cleaner cum mop coming to India in a few months’ time, which can go on its own around the house and take care of the cleaning.

Our pick: Dyson V11 Absolute Pro

While it is a bit expensive, the Dyson V11 Absolute Pro is the gold standard of vacuum cleaners. It is filled to the brim with smart features and is one of the most powerful ones around.

Check out our reviewView Deal

Finally, take a deep breath

India is home to many of the world’s most polluted cities. If you live in a metro, you know what we’re talking about—dust and smoke all around. Apart from lowered hygiene, these can also cause respiratory issues. Now that it seems likely that we would all be spending a lot more time at home, it might be a wise decision to invest in an air purifier.

Dyson offers a range of high-end air purifiers, whereas Xiaomi has a couple of affordable ones. Some even have heating and cooling capabilities. Ideally, decide which room you will be using these in to know what power and design will be best suited. 


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